Community squared

help blogAs I’ve been saying in my last post, and the one before, I’ve realized that my blog — all my work — involves a community. And that I want to move in new directions.

So here’s yet another way to move. I’d talked about taking my work to an institution (which perhaps I’d run), but if I keep it here, I’ve realized that I’d love some help.

There are many reasons for that. First — and simplest — is my workload. Just keeping the blog going (not to mention my newsletters, and other things I do) requires lots of administrative time. Formatting posts, uploading graphics, approving comments, linking my posts on Facebook and Twitter, saving copies of my posts offline — and that’s just a start. I get vast amounts of email.  Can I read or at least acknowledge all of it personally? The time may well be coming when I can’t.  Much as I’d love to!

All the things people want me to know about, to read, to look at. Much of it important. But how can I sort through it all? I could use some help.

But there’s so much more. I’ve said this blog becomes a community. Why not do more with that? Why not move toward making it a real communal enterprise? The grunt work can be shared, but — way beyond that — I’m not the only one with ideas to share about the future of classical music. As is proved (as if it had to be!) by the comments so many of you post here, some of which should be blog posts on their own.

So maybe this blog should offer multiple voices. How could we do that? Let’s crowdsource some plans. Deluge me with ideas! That’s one increase in my workload that I’ll welcome. Let’s see what else this blog can be, how it can grow, involve more people, and better reflect the community that nourishes it, and which it nourishes.

Of course, volunteers to do administrative work — both on my blog, and in the rest of my work — are also welcome. (I’ve had a few before.) Right now that work would most likely be unpaid. Though, if the right person(s) came along, maybe not!

And I’m going to work on ways of funding this. I’m unpaid myself, and that may not be — and maybe shouldn’t be — sustainable, as time moves onward.

Ideas for funding, anyone? And for anything else I’ve talked about here? My arms are open, to welcome all your thoughts.

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  1. says

    One thing that can ease some administrative and busy work is to have your blog auto-post to your twitter and facebook accounts. WordPress does this if you have the plug-ins installed (and some themes automatically have that capability if you enable them). On facebook, the RSS Graffiti app will post as many different blogs as you want to you profile or pages. And you can have your twitter feed automatically post to your facebook as well. I know it’s taken a load off of my shoulders not having to do all those things you’re mentioning.

      • says

        That’s the downside–limited customobility. Tailoring the posts to the particular social network is limited but I think in many cases, the benefits can outweigh the downfalls–especially if you’re active in a lot of social networks.

  2. Joe Bates says

    Hi Greg,

    I would be very interested in offering a helping hand! Through my dissertation work (“Assessing the role of musical institutions in the twentieth-century decline of classical music”) I’m uncovering a lot of interesting ideas on the topics you cover that I’d love to pass on.

    Also, as a Brit, I could provide some information on events over the pond that might be harder for you to access otherwise.


    Joe Bates

    • says

      Thanks, Joe! You’d be a prime candidate for any expansion I do. We should talk about it privately. The UK perspective would be wonderful, especially since I sense that you all are ahead of the US. And your thesis is such a good idea. I’m eager to know more about it, and I’ll bet many others will be, too.

    • says

      Hi, Marc. Let me correct you: This isn’t my introduction to the nonprofit world, where I’ve been at home for more than 30 years. It’s part of my ongoing introduction to entrepreneurship.

      I first learned about nonprofit funding in 1976, when I got a job with the New York State Council on the arts, evaluating grant applications from music groups. I’d meet with applicants ranging from the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall down to small regional choral groups, and their finances were always part of the discussion. I didn’t take the financial lead, because we had an excellent staff of fiscal analysts, but I did play a role in the conversations with applicants about their finances. Which even in the case of some of the biggest applicants sometimes had very visible problems.

      Later I traveled around the state, meeting with some of the groups we funded. I’d visit a small opera company and sit in a board meeting, hearing the board members talk about how they were (or weren’t) raising money (or couldn’t be expected to, because of alleged problems that somehow didn’t afflict similar organizations in similar cities). After I left the Council, they’d hire me as a consultant, to meet with groups they funded who were having problems, which were usually financial.

      I won’t bore you with the rest, which includes serving on nonprofit boards myself, and doing fundraising. Not to mention sitting in private meetings or private informal conversations with top orchestra managers, in which they discussed their finances, in very frank detail. Compared to that — in one case, I sat in on a presentation by the CEO of one of the biggest US orchestras, in which he showed, in complete financial detail, how his orchestra had come through an unpublicized near-death experience — compared to that, for me to raise small sums for myself is nothing much.

  3. says

    Community? Similar to the pleas I’ve put forward on my blog.
    Funding? For now, I’d recommend crowdfunding.
    Other ideas? How about curation of posts that are already out there via a site like or How about guest posts? Or a multi-writer blog?
    I also recommend using automation (there are dozens of ways to automate blog posts and reposts to Twitter and Facebook) where it’s possible. Simultaneously (and this begs the question of not having enough time, I know) if you want engagement on your blog, you have to be prepared to engage from the blog, social media, etc.
    Hmmm. That was sort of random and may not directly address your questions. Oh well. It was free, so take it for what it’s worth. :)

    • says

      Good ideas, Stan. No reason not to just throw them out there. Isn’t that the first step in doing something new? Brainstorm, without for the moment worrying what might or might not make sense.

      I’d like to have other people writing here, and one possibility is already in progress. Stay tuned.